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Real estate and construction: foreign firms

Index of tables

  1. Real estate and construction: foreign firms
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

With extensive experience in both domestic and outbound investments,¬†DLA Piper's broad practice covers¬†due diligence, acquisitions and divestments, joint ventures, structuring, financing and taxation. Other areas of strength are leasing and facilities management, project and commercial developments, REITs, hotel management and agreements, fund formation, and restructuring. Highlights include acting for a consortium of five international banks, as mandated lead arrangers, in a secured term loan facility to three borrowers that indirectly own a grade-A office tower in Beijing. It also advised a newly-established fund, Enhanced Real Estate Series APAC II ‚Äď China Outlets (managed by TH Real Estate), on its acquisition of a pipeline of designer outlet malls;¬†a global manager of real estate equity,¬†debt, securities and specialised strategies on selling two Shanghai office buildings; and an¬†international financial institution on the acquisition of a 49% interest in each of Merry Wave and Bright Power Enterprises from a subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed real estate company, Shui On Land. Shanghai's¬†Lillian Duan¬†is highly rated for¬†real estate M&A and joint ventures as well as the sale and leasing of properties in China;¬†Wayne Ma, who divides his time between Shanghai and Hong Kong,¬†advises¬†multinational and Chinese investment banks, financial institutions and private equity funds on both inbound and outbound transactions across Asia, Europe and the US.¬†In¬†Hong Kong, the Asia Pacific real estate head is Susheela Rivers¬†and¬†Janice Yau Garton¬†is a key senior associate.

In addition to its widely respected transactions and development practice, Mayer Brown also has a dedicated real estate finance team that advises lenders on Hong Kong and PRC financing arrangements, loan restructuring, foreign exchange matters and security issues. Additional key areas include construction litigation and arbitration, large-scale, non-contentious infrastructure projects, and environmental law issues. Recent work includes advising InfraRed NF Investment Advisers and Dynamic Sino Company in relation to an investment in Beijing-based self-storage platform operator, China Mini Storage. It also assisted Swire Properties, a property developer, owner and operator of mixed-use properties in Hong Kong and mainland China, with the framework agreement with Shanghai Newbund Industrial Development Company for the joint development of a retail project in Shanghai. Andy Yeo advises developers, funds and other investors on investment structures, land and building acquisitions, the establishment of project companies, and obtaining the required permits and licences. Yeo's experience also includes construction, property title application, sales and leasing, and property management. Other key practitioners include Tom Fu, who advises on issues arising out of construction projects in China and on the drafting of contract documentation for China projects, while the senior associates to note are Rosalyn Han and Ellen Zhang. In Hong Kong, Keith Cheung, Ricky Yiu and Alan Yip are all experienced advisers.

Allen & Overy LLP's full-service Greater China real estate practice fields 30-plus real estate lawyers across Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong. It advises Chinese and foreign investors on Chinese real estate investments and divestments and financing arrangements. The team advised AEW, a privately-owned real estate investment manager that invests in private real estate markets across the globe, on its acquisition of an offshore target company that owns an onshore office property in Shanghai with a co-investor. It also regularly acts for logistics client ESR, which is the result of a merger of Singapore-based logistics fund manager, Redwood Group Asia, and Shanghai-based developer and operator of warehouses e-Shang, on the purchase of properties or investments in properties to convert them into state-of-the-art distribution and transport facilities.Matthew Bisley acts on real estate investment trust, acquisition and mezzanine financing as well as refinancing; Wayne Lee is a highly rated corporate real estate partner; Jean Ye is a key counsel.

Specialising in acquisitions and disposals, real estate financing and real estate investment trusts, Baker McKenzie FenXun Joint Operation Office's other areas of strength include mortgage-backed securities, asset management, public and private funds, commercial leasing and dispute resolution. On the development side, it fields lawyers with expertise in mixed-use projects; these include emerging class of assets such as hotels and tourism, theme parks, car parks, industrial parks, private residence clubs and container terminals. It assisted Shui On Land with the sale of a 49.5% interest in one of its commercial real estate portfolios in Shanghai. It also acted for Excel Partners China Fund (Excel) in a $175m secured term loan facility by a consortium of five international banks, led by Deutsche Bank, to three Barbados subsidiaries of Excel. Alexander Gong is the key contact in Shanghai and his practice focuses on real estate matters, including cross-border M&A deals, foreign direct investments, joint ventures, financing, commercial leasing, hotel management and construction matters. Rico Chan heads the firm’s Asia Pacific structured real estate group; Edmond Chan oversees the Hong Kong-based real estate practice.

Clifford Chance LLP recently worked on a high level of China inbound and outbound real estate matters, particularly in relation to US, UK, Middle Eastern and Central Asian investors. The practice is experienced in high-end conveyancing, real estate-related M&A, finance, capital raising, joint ventures, dispute resolution, fund formation and IPOs; and its coverage extends from conventional office, residential and industrial real estate to networks, hub sites, data centres, hospitals, exhibition venues and logistic centres. The team advised Bank of China (Hong Kong), HSBC and ING Real Estate Finance on the financing of Hong Kong investor C C Land Holdings' £1.15bn purchase of London's The Leadenhall Building; the team also acted for Goldman Sachs in its joint venture with KaiLong REIT to acquire commercial buildings in Hong Kong. The key mainland advisors are China managing partners Terence Foo and Tim Wang and corporate partners Kelly Gregory and Ying White; White is 'an exceptional communicator who is one of the few lawyers in Asia who understands the challenges faced by global asset management companies, and she works tirelessly to bridge the gap that exists between their expectations and understanding and the realities of working in China'. Yi Yang is a notable Shanghai counsel. Matthias Feldmann, who focuses on real estate fund formation, Dauwood Malik, noted for both development and investment financing work, and Clara Tang, who has expertise in development, conveyancing, financing, property management and leasing are the main Hong Kong contacts.

Morrison & Foerster LLP's Shanghai-based Maria Wang specialises in real estate transactions, including complex M&A deals, joint ventures, financing, disposals, and project development and management; she led advice to a real estate fund, managed by LaSalle Investment Management, on its acquisition of a 31-floor, grade A office building in Shanghai from Alpha Investment Partners. Wang also assisted BlackRock Asia Property Fund with its acquisition of two blocks of grade A office buildings in Shanghai from PGIM Real Estate, a property investment affiliate of Prudential Financial. Hong Kong's Marcia Ellis co-heads the firm’s Asia private equity practice and is noted for major real estate mandates. Together with the firm's Singapore office, she advised GLP Pte (formerly Global Logistic Properties), as international counsel, on its complex $11.64bn buyout and privatisation by a consortium of investors; the privatisation was reportedly the largest-ever private equity buyout of an Asian company by enterprise value.

Paul Hastings LLP acts in high-level and financially significant real estate matters, including real estate acquisitions, joint ventures, private equity work and corporate and transactional real estate matters within the Chinese market. The team advised ICBC International, the wholly-owned Hong Kong subsidiary of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, on its formation of a partnership with Sino-Ocean Capital for the acquisition of a large commercial real estate portfolio in China; it also acted for a joint venture, between Chinese private equity firm CDH Investments and China-based business park developer TecParkDevelopment Holdings, in the $300m sale of the XingchuangTechnique Plaza project, a class A industrial office building in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, to D&J Industrial. David Blumenfeld, who splits his time between Hong Kong and Shanghai, chairs the firm’s Asia hospitality and Asia real estate practices, and Paul Guan in Hong Kong is also a highly rated practitioner.

Pinsent Masons is recommended for its expertise in construction projects, including procurement matters, completion issues and construction-related  dispute resolution. The names to note are joint heads of the China offices Sam Boyling, who advises on infrastructure projects inthe power, oil and gas, transport and mining and mineral processing sectors, and Helena Chen, along with Helen Chang and recently promoted Mark Hu. Former mainland China head Hew Kian Heong and Ellen Zhang left for Herbert Smith Freehills LLP.

White & Case LLP is experienced in advising on office and apartment buildings, multi-family developments, mixed-use properties, shopping centres, hotels and resorts, industrial real estate, and warehouses. The team assisted a consortium, comprising of Gaw Capital Partners, Goldman Sachs Group and Great Wall Asset Management, with its debt financing; this related to its HK$23bn acquisition of a portfolio of 17 retail shopping malls in Hong Kong. Beijing-based David Li and Hong Kong-based Asia real estate and banking practice co-head Baldwin Cheng are the names to note.

CMS' recent work includes advising on the construction of manufacturing plants, leasing agreements, environmental law matters, and land use issues. Ulrike Glueck is the managing partner of the Shanghai office and Nick Beckett is also a key contact.

Hogan Lovells International LLP's real estate practice in China advises on a wide range of real estate development projects, real estate acquisitions and financing transactions. Typical work for the team includes land purchases, sales, leasing, financing and construction projects. Andrew McGinty in Shanghai heads the team.

K&L Gates' practice covers development and construction projects, acquisitions, dispositions, financing and leasing. Other areas of note include land use, planning and zoning, tax advice, joint ventures, and real estate-related litigation. Recent work includes advising Invesco Real Estate on the acquisition of a portfolio of core logistic real estate assets in China from e-Shang Redwood for approximately $300m. Simon Poh and Max Gu are the principal Shanghai contacts, while Frank Voon divides his time between Hong Kong and Beijing.


Real estate and construction: PRC firms

Index of tables

  1. Real estate and construction: PRC firms
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Xing Meidong - King & Wood Mallesons

King & Wood Mallesons' practice comprises 15 partners who regularly advise on real estate transactions across China, including M&A deals, asset acquisitions, taxation and land issues, as well as upstream fund establishment, fund structuring and real estate-focused outbound transactions. It also stands out for the calibre of its real estate financing experience and assists clients with issuing REITs in domestic and offshore capital markets. Recent highlights include advising Poly Real Estate Group Company on an asset-backed specific plan, which marked the first rental housing quasi-REIT by a real estate developer in China. Harry Du heads up the team in Beijing; William Jiang is Yangtze River Delta head; and Zhangqi Tao is head of South China. Also recommended are real estate and infrastructure specialist Fang Rong and recently promoted Xing Meidong.

Zhong Lun Law Firm provides a full range of real estate-related legal services, including developments, project financing, M&A transactions, public offerings of real estate companies and securitisation of real property. Other areas of strength are infrastructure and PPP matters, environmental law issues, and energy and real estate-related disputes. The team acted for Beijing Shouhuan Cultural Tourism Investment Company in the Universal Beijing Theme Park and Resort project in the Tongzhou district, which involved land development, construction, IP licensing and business operation issues; the group also advised the Civil Aviation Administration Of China on Beijing’s new airport project. Xuebing Zhang, Anthony Qiao, Maoyuan Zhu, Yueping Zhou and Jihong Wang are highly rated advisers. Other key names are Gavin Zhang, Song Mu, Lanping Zhou, David Chen and Jiong Zhang.

Shanghai-based City Development Law Firm specialises in construction and real estate in China. Its scope of practice includes shopping malls, office buildings, hotels, residential properties and factories. It also assists with project investment, financing, leases, and property and hotel management. Among many names to note are director Shuying Zhu, deputy director Shan Cao and Kevin Shao.

Fangda Partners fields lawyers with particular strength in real estate investment, acquisitions and sales, commercial leases, construction and real estate development, and zoning issues. The team is also focused on the hospitality sector, including hotel management projects in China and PPP projects in the energy and public utility infrastructure sectors. Recent work saw the team advise Prologis on the acquisition, development, construction and leasing of warehousing and logistics facilities throughout China; it also acts for Marriott International on a daily basis, in relation to land law issues, zoning, hotel project matters and various operational issues. The names to note are Shanghai's real estate, hospitality, construction and PPP expert Yingying Wang, along with Nuo Ji and Stephen Lin. Michael Tam is a key Hong Kong adviser.

Working from its Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen offices, JunHe LLP’s 'reliable and highly experienced' real estate and construction team comprises over 30 lawyers; its core areas of practice include real estate-related investment and M&A deals, developments, financing, leasing, and sales of real estate projects and properties. It also assists with construction-related bidding, design, construction and supervision issues and acted for a Chinese life insurance company in its acquisition of an office building. Xueping Yu heads the team; the 'always impressive' Liping Zhang's expertise includes real estate development, sales, acquisitions of buildings and project companies, lease transactions and finance structures. Haifu Li and Yu Yongqiang are also experienced practitioners.

Dentons China is well known for its construction practice. On the real estate finance side, it assists with real estate investment trusts and commercial mortgage-backed securities. Shanghai partner Charles Wu advised Mori Building China (Shanghai) on its collaboration with Shanghai Industrial Investment (Holdings) to develop land in Shanghai. Huazhi Yuan is also highly rated.

Global Law Office's real estate and construction department advises on the designing, financing and bidding of construction projects; it also assists with real estate-related M&A deals and disputes. The team acted for Banyan Tree Holdings (Banyan Tree) in its definitive agreement with China Vanke to create a Singapore-incorporated joint venture to consolidate the ownership of Banyan Tree-branded hotels and assets in China as well as Banyan Tree's hotel management business. Huawei Lin, Minghao Xu and Jason Wang are the names to note.

Guantao Law Firm's client base includes government agencies, development enterprises, construction groups, financial institutions and REITs; the firm fields experts in development projects, real estate M&A, real estate project restructuring, and construction project management, along with the sale and leasing of commercial properties, infrastructure PPP projects, real estate-related tourism and property financing. Lei Meng heads the department; other key advisors include co-managing partner Leiming Sheng, Yonghong Zhan and Hongli Zou.

Jincheng Tongda & Neal is experienced advising on real estate developments, M&A and restructuring deals, and bankruptcy and reorganisations, together with asset securitisation and urban regeneration. In the projects space, the practice has sector expertise in energy, mines, water supply, environmental protection, communications and logistics. The Real Estate Registration Center of the Ministry of Land and Resources and Beijing Public Housing Center (BPHC) are longstanding clients; the team regularly assists BPHC with drafting, reviewing and risk-assessing contracts used for commercial property-related leases and investments. Jianjin Yang directs the real estate, construction and infrastructure department. Guozhong Shao, Shuyi Sun, Zhicheng Ma and Long Xiao are also notable practitioners.

Regularly advising on domestic and cross-border real estate transactions, Llinks Law Offices is well regarded for its advice on land development and commercial and residential real estate, as well as hotels, offices and logistics, and data centres. The practice is also noted for construction projects, including bidding procedures, land surveying, construction design, and contracting and engineering procurement issues. It acted for CITIC Capital in its acquisition of Hui Ying Tower. Bernie Liu and Nicholas Lou in Shanghai are the names to note.

Tian Yuan Law Firm represents developers, project owners and general contractors on major real estate projects, including tax-saving real estate investment plans. The team stands out for its advice on the acquisition of real estate assets, major asset restructuring, acquiring listed companies, and real estate private equity investment. It acted for China Resources Land in the acquisition of a real estate asset in the city of Xi’an. The team's key advisors include Yanling Ren, Peng Xie, Chen Yang and Ying Liu.

AllBright Law Offices is particularly noted for its real estate M&A capabilities and the team frequently advises on large, multi-use residential and commercial projects. The department is also experienced in handling construction contract disputes and is increasingly active in construction projects, particularly in relation to the development of commercial complexes. It acted for CIFI Holdings (Group) Company in real estate M&A and construction projects in Foshan, Xi’an and Taiyuan. Yun Li heads the real estate and construction team, which includes Xiao Yang, Zhibin Huang and Alex Li.

Beijing Cyan Law Firm 'provides an excellent service; its lawyers know their sectors very well, their advice is extremely commercial and practical, and most importantly they deliver results in the most difficult circumstances'.  The department is led by managing partner Wanhe Ye, who is an expert in construction law and related PPP structures in mainland China. Ye is 'the standout partner; he is an excellent lawyer who is very experienced and solution oriented, and he is always determined to achieve the best result, even when the odds are against him'. The team advised China Eastern Airlines on its investment in the construction of Beijing's new airport project. Senior counsel Hui Xu is also highly regarded.

Boss & Young, Attorneys At Law is experienced in real estate development, while on the construction side the practice's scope includes municipal public utilities and infrastructure projects. Guofei Lu is the name to note.

DeHeng Law Offices advises on construction and  infrastructure projects, including public utilities. The team also assists with land development, financing, leasing, hotel operations, property management, and real estate-related disputes. Yaran Wang in Shanghai acts for real estate development, construction and property management companies.

Hiways Law Firm's practice comprises real estate development, land grants, construction, real estate-related M&A transactions and project financing. The client list includes Huarun (Shanghai) Company and Shanghai Shen Hong Investment Development Company. Sun Wei is the key advisor.

Wintell & Co Law Firm recently advised Shanghai World EXPO Museum on the construction of a new museum; the practice's scope of advice included the construction project bidding as well as design, exhibition layout and equipment procurement issues. Senior partner Tony Wang is an experienced advisor.


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